A Vivid View of Vintage Variation
From The SOMM Journal
Story by Jonathan Cristaldi, October 2023
All in the Tannin: B. Wise Vineyards
“I fell in love with wine in Europe in the 1990s,” began Heinrich, “and I’ve worked with B. Wise for over 15 years now.” B. Wise Vineyards’ estate property and winery were established in 2002 on Moon Mountain in the Moon Mountain District AVA. The producer also operates a tasting lounge in Kenwood, California, and a tasting space called the B. Wise Loft at BRION in Yountville.
“We mostly make wine from our Moon Mountain estate,” explained Heinrich. “The Moon Mountain District was established in 2013 as an AVA, and Monte Rosso is the famous and iconic site associated with the appellation. The soils are very red soils like on the eastern benches of Oakville; iron oxide is the mineral that causes the redness, and we want our wine to express that minerality.”
Heinrich noted that his approach is to craft wines with balance and refined tannins, and he believes he and his team are able to make “more elegant, less aggressive wines that are easy to drink” thanks to practices such as farming by hand—from pruning and thinning to harvest—and planting cover crops. B. Wise has seven clones of Cabernet Sauvignon planted, which “give us blending nuances,” said Heinrich. “We have a master cooper we work with, [Ramiro Herrera,] the only American master cooper, and to help us achieve our ideal tannin profile, we buy trees from France and make specific barrels for specific sites.”
The B. Wise Vineyards 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon presented at the seminar is a 100% varietal wine offering aromas of dusty herbs, baking spices, and tobacco. Medium- to full-bodied, with rich, warming earth notes and cassis as well as layers of blackberry preserves; toasty, warm baking spices; fine-grained, polished tannins; and a spicy finish.